Internet fax services can help businesses cut down on their environmental impact while simultaneously improving communications. Over the past several years, climate change and environmental sustainability initiatives have cast eco-friendliness into the spotlight. While the majority of advocacy and regulatory efforts focus on massive energy consumption by data centers or the climatological impact of enterprise logistics, organizations with smaller IT footprints can still make a difference. And if an effort to go green can help lower costs and increase productivity, all the better.
Traditional fax machines use a substantial amount of paper and toner, which are both increasingly expensive materials with a significant environmental impact. U.S. organizations spend millions every year on printing materials, which is mostly concentrated in paper-heavy sectors such as legal, finance and healthcare. It's not only costly, but has a demonstrated impact on the environment:
- Paper production uses the third largest amount of energy per year than any other sector, according to ForestEthics. It's also the fourth largest source of greenhouse gases in the manufacturing industry. Much of this energy is not well spent, as the average office has a troublesome approach to paper usage. The average office workers utilizes an astonishing amount of copy paper – about 10,000 sheets a year, according to The Paperless Project. Between faxes, backup files and misplaced records, the average document is copied between nine and 11 times. This is a massive source of unnecessary waste.
- Toner is also a significant source of environmental degradation. More than 350 million ink cartridges end up in North American landfills every year, according to Cartridge World. While many printer cartridges could be recycled for another use, poor local recycling practices and the speed of business operations mean that they end up in trash with an astonishing frequency. The simple solution is to eliminate them altogether.
The environmental and enterprise benefits of Internet fax services
For organizations, paper and toner spending represents unnecessary costs for a necessary function. While no company wants to sacrifice business-critical operations for eco-friendliness, this is one instance in which there is no downside. A company can implement Internet fax services to help wean itself off of paper and toner, producing lasting savings. Every little contribution helps, and as more businesses convert to Internet-based communication and file sharing practices, the cumulative positive environmental impact could be enormous.
Unified communications strategies offer significant benefits for the Earth's health, according to Cisco. Virtualizing collaboration and communication technologies is one of the pillars of a green IT strategy. Video conferencing, mobile phones and other telepresence solutions allow companies to cut down on the need for business travel, decreasing their carbon footprint in the form of employees who don't have to fly cross country to attend a meeting. This also helps organizations to be more productive, as they can address issues quickly and cost-effectively without impacting the environment.
An Internet fax service complements this eco-friendly approach. Instead of using several pieces of paper for every document and cover letter and drying up ink cartridges by the boxful, organizations use FaxCore's secure, cloud-based Internet fax service to send documents online. This method also increases speed and security, making sending a fax a more efficient task that can benefit the environment at the same time.